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Why fly to Osaka?
Lights, color and action. This is Osaka, Japan, a bustling city of close to 20 million people and chances are you probably own some sort of electronic that was produced in the city.
Osaka curves around Osaka Bay which is fed by the Yodo River. Getting into the main city will feel like you are inside a disco ball as every available wall space is covered by neon signs, each one bigger and more colorful than the last.
Despite the flashing neon there is a lot of cultural heritage to be discovered in the city with Osaka playing home to some of Japan's most important museums and galleries. Visit the National Museum of Art or the Osaka Maritime Museum, which has a futuristic dome exterior.
One thing is for sure, you will not go hungry in Osaka. There is literally food everywhere and everywhere means inside the train stations, next to the bus stands, on street corners and the restaurant scene is huge. You could easily just eat for a week or two and try new things everyday. In fact, there is a saying in the city "Kuidaore," which means something along the lines of stuff yourself until you drop.
You can try traditional foods like okonomiyaki, which is a sort of pancake made with cabbage, fish and seaweed or tecchiri which is a dish of blowfish and vegetables. And if you want some international flavor you have numerous fine dining options in the kitchens of top chefs ranging from French to Indian.
For coffee head to a traditional Japanese coffeehouse head to a "kissaten," and enjoy a taste of strong, local coffee. For the Japanese take on having a drink after work with your colleagues head to a "tachi-nomi" joint, which can be located in stalls or liquor stores and are places where you have a quick stand and drink.
The city has a hopping nightlife centered in the Dotonbori area, which is chock-full of restaurants and theaters as well as dance clubs and bars. One of the big attractions is the street food and fresh octopus dumplings are particularly popular so have a try.
To round out your trip go for a cruise in Osaka Bay. You can book yourself a special cruising deal on an old-fashioned Spanish sailing vessel and take in the hustle and bustle of the city from afar.
Your senses could easily go on overload when you're in this electric city, so rest up and get prepared for a bit of a ride.
Summers in Osaka are very hot with temperatures in the mid 30s on average. The July and August months are also when the city is pounded with heavy rain and combined with the heat the air quite muggy. Temperatures begin to meander downward in the fall into the high teens and then cool into the tens in the winter. Snowfall is not common, however occasionally the city receives a light sprinkling.
When to fly to Osaka
Osaka is always buzzing as it is a major commercial center but peak season for tourism remains the summer as this is when many Western tourists vacation. The higher number of tourists in the summer means flight ticket prices are fairly high.
The winter months in Osaka are cooler and with that tourist numbers decline. You can find yourself some great flight deals in January right through until April so save some cash and just take along a jacket.
Getting into Osaka
Your portal into Osaka opens up at Kansai International Airport, which interestingly enough sits on a man-made island just off the coast of Osaka. The airport is connected to the mainland via a vehicle bridge. From the airport you can board the rapid train which will get you to Osaka station in 65 minutes or you can take the express train which will take about 50 minutes. The limousine bus service will take close to an hour. A taxi stand is located outside of the airport.
Getting around Osaka
Osaka has a a fantastic public transportation network and a much-needed one as at least a million workers pour into the downtown core everyday in addition to the several million that live there. The high-speed transit trains look like something from the future and will get you around the city quickly. The standard and older rail service will get you in and out of the downtown core. The city also has a subway and an extensive bus service.
- Insider Guide
- Check out Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan for quite a brilliant encounter with the sea creatures of the Pacific Rim. You will have a chance to see the creatures on land and in water with exhibits featured on differing levels. The aquarium hosts all kinds of creatures from cute penguins to small sharks that you can pet. There are also some short shows involving some of the animals like sea lions.
- One of the city's landmarks is the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, take a ride in the 6-person cabin and get a nice view of the whole city.
- Visit Osaka Castle, which is stunning as are the views of the city from the castle's viewing platform. The castle was originally built in the 16th century, but has been rebuilt since. Inside you will find Japanese artifacts and exhibits about the castle and area's history. Tour the grounds and get a feel for old world Japanese gardens.
- For a unique experience head to a train station and eat at the noodle counter. The noodles counter is set up on a long counter and business men stand on either side with noodle bowls in front of them slurping away. It almost looks as though it were a conveyer belt with workers on either side of it, except in this case it is businessmen and noodles. It is a quick, inexpensive meal but you will live like a local for a few minutes.
- Visit Universal Studios Japan. This site is a lot like what you would see in Florida or California complete with Jaws, Shrek 4D and Jurassic Park rides. The park is a ton of fun but try and make your visit during the weekdays as the weekends are fairly crowded.
- Compare flights to Osaka from Australia on AirfaresFlights.com.au.
Osaka Tourism More information at
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